Craft beer has taken market share in the beer category

Craft beer has taken market share in the beer category

Craft beer's more expensive labels are driving US growth in the sub-category, new figures have shown.

The top level, with an average unit price of US$6.65, increased sales by 27% last year, according to GuestMetrics data released this week. Lower-priced craft beers, meanwhile, increased sales by just 3% in the 12-month period, GuestMetrics said. 

“Even though the top price-tier only accounted for 19% of craft units sold, it accounted for 54% of the share gains made by craft beer against other beer categories,” a GuestMetrics spokesperson said.

The biggest gains in the top tier were made by Lagunitas India Pale Ale, Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale and Stone India Pale Ale.

“This also has implications for the mainstream brands that have been losing the most share - Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Budweiser,” the spokesperson said.

According to the Brewers Association, volume sales from US craft brewers rose by 15% last year, giving the sub-category a 6.5% share of the country's beer market.

GuestMetrics figures are based on around US$8bn of transactions in US restaurants and bars in 2012.